Internal Meetings Part I: Present Like You’re Selling

There’s nothing more contentious than meetings.  Internal meetings.  We’ve all been in the gatherings where blackberry typing, pastry eating, and PowerPoints both seem to suck our time away, but in such a passive, friendly way that we don’t mind.  How do we make this workplace institution better.  Turns out there’s no way to address it in one post so we’ve dedicated a series of posts to the humble meeting and how to make it better.

Here’s the thing about internal PowerPoints: they’re just like PowerPoints you give to your customers only worse.  And let’s face it, those are pretty bad.  Bullet points?  Bad clip art?  Lots and lots of words?  Chances are your presentation skills overall could use an overhaul.  And it turns out that there is plenty of advice out there:

1.) Use Big Words

This is a summary of something called the Takahashi Method.  No images.  No bullets.  Just king sized text.  It’s intriguing because it’s so simple.  A little too simple…

2.) Lists

Guy Kawasaki said: “All of my speeches are in Top 10 format, because if you think I suck, I at least want you to be able to track my progress through the speech so that you know approximately know how much longer I’m going to suck.” This is great advice and really simple which makes it even greater.  Top 10.  The 5 Things.  4 Ways.  They all sound simple and finite which are both good things.

3.)  10/20/30 Rule

This is also from Guy Kawasaki and is equally as simple.  10 slides.  20 minutes.  30 point font.  You can read in more detail at Kawasaki’s blog, but you get the gist.

4.)  Photos

Really great intriguing photography is available everywhere.  At iStockphoto you can search for photos by topic and buy one for a buck.  Why use those little figures that Microsoft bundled with PPT back in 1991?

5.)  Other Stuff

There’s a really great post at by Merlin Mann call How I Made My Presentation a Little Better that does a great job at summarizing other tips and tricks out there.

So those are tips on presentations.   Here’s the problem.  They all seem geared toward CEOs presenting their companies latest product.  Or some tech guy speaking at a tech conference in front of techies wearing cool glasses and T-shirts.  What if you’re an accountant who needs to explain the new expense reports.  Or if you’re a manager who needs to explain the new commission system.  Or if you’re the IT guy who needs to explain how the new email system works.  Can you really follow these rules and still have a productive meeting?

Yes.  Yes you can.

Keep in mind that people need to hear the why and how of something.  The point of a meeting is to quickly disseminate that information to a lot of people and then get them back to work with them feeling that they’re better off than when they entered a meeting.  Doing it simply is going to bring clarity to the situation and help move things ahead.  Here’s a take on new expense reports:

Slide 1: New Expense Reports: Why?

Slide 2: Easier to Complete

Slide 3: Faster to Process

Slide 4: 3 Big Differences

Slide 5: 1.) Pull Down Menus

Slide 6: 2.) Client Tagging

Slide 7: 3.) Online Only

Slide 8: Here’s Where They Are

Slide 9: Practice

Slide 10: Help Daily: 1:30 – 3:30 My Office

Is it as good as Steve Jobs?  Are you going to entertain and tell a story and will they presentation end in applause?  No.  Probably not.  This is work and you’ve got a job to do.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to be ineffective. You’ve given information that people need, told them why, told them where, and left things open to move things along.  Could you get these slides done in less than 20 minutes?  Yes, and that’s a good thing!

So make your next meeting better by breaking the mold on PowerPoint.  And we’d love to see your best efforts here!  C’mon, we’ve seen enough PPT’s on new products or motivation talks — let’s see the ones on expense reports, new sales tools, and general company housekeeping posted here…

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Tim McPherson

By Tim McPherson

Tim McPherson, President and COO for Nesco Resource, has over 27 years of experience in all facets of the Staffing Services Industry.

One Response to “Internal Meetings Part I: Present Like You’re Selling”


  1. […] In the last post I championed the short, fast presentation. That may well be part of it.  If someone knows that you’re going to drone on and on for an hour, taking 15 minutes to check emails seems doable.  Even if they get only 50% of what you say, that’s a half hour of time.    The reasoning is that if you’re going to take an hour, they’ll only give you a half hour. […]

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